Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"1773: The Massachusetts colony is torn between patriots who want independence from British rule and loyalists who support the King. At the center is the educated and beautiful Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the leader of the Sons of Liberty, a secret organization opposing the Crown.
When a murder occurs in the home of their friend and fellow patriot, Rebecca Malvern, John is accused of the gruesome crime, which was seemingly perpetrated to obtain a secret Sons of Liberty document. With both her husband's good name and the fate of the Sons of Liberty at stake, Abby must uncover a conspiracy that could cost them all their freedom, and their lives."
The Ninth Daughter surprised me. I expected an interesting cozy-style mystery with a fictionalized version of Abigail Adams, John Adams' wife. But this was an interesting balance between well-researched historical fiction, and serial killer murder mystery.
I did not figure out who did it before Abigail Adams did, which worked just fine since she solves this crime (and others, in this series, apparently) through curiosity, intelligence, and knowing her community. At a time when crimes (especially done to the lower classes) were ignored for the sake of the politics involved, this unlikely detective-type heroine fits perfectly.
But where this book truly shines is in its historical aspects. Hamilton has managed to bring to life the Puritan work ethic, the active role of Christianity in the lives of the folk of Boston (and the Protestant vs Catholic feelings of the time), the role and responsibilities of women (holy carp, I would never have lasted), and the tense political situation overlaying (and complicating) everything.
It never felt like a lecture, but neither did Abigail feel too distant from modern sensibilities to relate to. She's curious, compassionate, frustrated, and has a mounting pile of housework to do. She loses her patience, banters with her husband, tries to keep from gossiping, and recognizes that what is good isn't always what is right (and vice versa).
Also, Lieutenant Coldstone.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction, the late 1700's America (and events leading to the Revolutionary War, as told by first person perspective), murder mysteries, clever female protagonists, political commentary (I mean, truly, there are some then-and-now themes going on), and immersive writing.
Labels: abigail adams, barbara hamilton, book review, boston, female protagonist, historical fiction, murder, mystery, political intrigue, tea party, the ninth daughter